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Stephen Drew’s high school coach: ‘I know he was itching to play’

May 28, 2014

Danny Redshaw served as Stephen Drew's head baseball coach in high school. Drew played seven innings for the Pawtucket Red Sox Wednesday night. (Photo by Louriann Mardo-Zayat/

PAWTUCKET — At long last, Danny Redshaw can enjoy all the perks that come with subscribing to the MLB Extra Innings package.

“It will be nice to turn on the TV and see a young man who you were fortunate enough to coach in high school and has gone on to play Major League baseball,” Redshaw admitted when reached via cell phone.

Redshaw served as Stephen Drew’s head baseball coach at Lowndes County (Ga.) High School. The recent re-addition to the Red Sox is at the point where light is finally appearing at the end of the tunnel following an atypical offseason for a starting shortstop fresh off a World Series victory. The 31-year-old Drew took the next step in rejoining Boston on Wednesday with the first of what’s expected to be a handful of games with the Pawtucket Red Sox.

For those wondering how Drew passed the time until his agent, Scott Boras, and the Red Sox shook hands on a one-year contract, Redshaw can shed some light on the matter.

“For the last 6-8 weeks, he was down here almost on a daily basis and working out. He’s in real good shape and ready to go,” Redshaw relayed. “Baseball-wise, he was doing stuff at the school and weight room stuff elsewhere. Sometimes he worked out with the high school kids but he had a couple of trainers.”
During one of those visits to his high school alma mater, Drew brought his 2013 World Series ring to show off.

“As hard as he was working, he’s ready to get back,” Redshaw said. “Even as a youngster, he had a tremendous work ethic and a competitive desire to win. You put those two things together with the ability he has and that’s why he is who he is.”

As for Drew’s attitude during this lengthy and unexpected period of idleness, Redshaw stated, “It was definitely different for him, but he didn’t talk about it a whole lot. He was dealing with the business aspect okay and handling it well, but I know he was itching to play.

“He’s a little more personal than (older brother and former Red Sox outfielder J.D. Drew) and is not quite as laidback as J.D. was, but when you’re in competitive sports and living and dealing with the pressures of the public in a sport where you’re going to fail 70 percent of the time anyway, that demeanor serves Stephen well.”

Redshaw has not had an opportunity to touch base with Drew since his former player officially shook off the cobwebs and went back to work. Recently the coach was cleaning out an old file cabinet at Lowndes County High when he came across a certificate that featured Drew’s name on it. The piece of paper denoted Drew as a high school All-America selection in 2000 and 2001.

“Six hours later, he was on a plane and on his way to Boston,” Redshaw said. “It just happened that quick.”
From Redshaw’s vantage point, Drew is walking back into “a cool situation” with the Red Sox. “I know he’s happy to be going back to Boston. That team still has a chance to turn things around.”

Taking Redshaw’s point a step further, the temptation is there to anoint Drew as a savior and view him as the missing link, particularly when referencing the left side of Boston’s infield arrangement. The important item for Red Sox fans to keep in mind is that Drew is simply one piece of the puzzle.

“They’re moving (Xander) Bogaerts [to third base] and he’s been swinging the bat pretty well. Plus (Brock) Holt has swung it well lately over at third,” Redshaw said. “I’m sure they talk about it more up in New England than opposed to down here, but (Jacoby) Ellsbury might be the biggest loss.

“It takes a special chemistry and things falling into place,” Redshaw delved further. “I’ve always said that no matter how good you are, especially in baseball, it takes a lot of work to win a championship. Hopefully with getting Drew back, along with maybe making another move or two and some guys will start producing like they have in the past, they can get back on the winning track.”

Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03

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